It’s been a weird few years for Panic! At The Disco. Since 2015, the pop-punk band has been haemorrhaging members, first co-founder Spencer Smith and then, in 2017, bassist Dallon Weekes. As it stands, frontman Brendon Urie is currently the entirety of the group’s lineup. Panic seems to be the operative word.
If this gradual disintegration was causing some anxiety among fans, they needn’t have worried. With the release of two new tracks, a new video, a tour and an album announcement, it’s fair to say Panic! At The Disco is very much alive and well.
‘Say Amen (Saturday Night)’ is a strong return for Urie who needed to pull something special out of the bag to impress fans not entirely convinced by the group’s current one-man lineup. Urie does an admirable job here, his natural showmanship oozing from the theatrical big band arrangement, his vampiric charisma on fine form. His new single is one that embraces a range of sounds, from the strange vocal sample of the intro to the micro-percussion of the verse, bursting into brassy life on the chorus before shrinking into itself on the middle eight – and that’s before we get to the blood-curdling high note. On his comeback single, Urie keeps us guessing, marching through the sinister arrangement like the Pied Piper, knowing his fans are sure to follow.
To accompany the track, Urie has released an eye-wateringly violent video in which he defends a sacred relic against an army of masked burglars. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also released a second track, the similarly big-bandy ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’. But despite its use of a brass orchestra, it’s the opposite of its A-side, a sunny, high-tempo song that sees Urie referencing Beyoncé’s Lemonade over funky, RnB-tinged flourishes. It’s more optimistic than the sinister ‘Say Amen (Saturday Night)’, a track that, according to comments he made to Alternative Press, sees Urie trying to reconcile his present-day career with his Mormon roots.
In addition to the two new tracks, Urie has announced Panic! At The Disco’s sixth studio album. Pray For The Wicked will be released June 22nd followed by an extensive North American tour. Not bad for a one-man band, right?